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Thursday, April 30, 2009

How to Rejoice During Bad Times

Bad times fall on everyone. That is one of the facts of life that often eludes us. We believe we are the only ones who have bad times. I must admit, some people seem to have more than their share but I often find that they also create the atmosphere for bad times.

I believe you will know every point I will make today that will help you rejoice during the bad times. I don't think I am telling you something new. I believe I am reminding you of something that you need to tell yourself again.

First, bad times don't last; they just seem like it. Whatever you are going through will pass. The pain subsides after losing a loved one. Another job will be found if you lose the one you have. You will find a place to live even if your house gets repossessed. Your children will eventually come to their senses and love you again.

This is true even if the fault is your own. You will get out of prison if you have stolen from your company. You can know forgiveness if you have hurt your spouse. You can mend your marriage. You can see victory no matter how bad the defeat is at the moment.

Second, there is a silver lining to the bad time. Bad times are the most effective way for us to learn what we should or should not do again. Bad times make us appreciate the things we had and make what we have more precious.

For example, losing your job makes you evaluate what you should have done. Maybe you should have been going to school at night to learn something else you could do at the present job. Maybe you should have been looking for a new job sooner. Maybe you should have paid more attention to the industry you were in. You may have realized that the days of the company were numbered. This bad times may make you want to always position yourself for something better rather than waiting for the other shoe to fall when the company starts doing badly.

Losing a loved one will make you realize how precious other people are. It should make you realize that there are still loved ones around. You can't do anything for the one you lost but you can invest in those you have. It should make all your relationships sweeter.

Third, you know you are not alone. God never lets you walk through a bad time alone unless you leave Him out. He will give you strength to make it through each day. When you cannot walk another step, He will carry you. If you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. He will comfort you if you let Him.

Fourth, God uses these bad times to make us stronger. Our faith is challenged. We are forced to rely on Him for strength. We come to the end of our own wisdom and depend upon His. We become better witnesses and we prove ourselves to be His when we stand with Him in the tough times. Tough times are like making a muscle fail during exercise. The failure of a muscle may make us sore but it increases the muscles strength. Bad times make us come to the end of ourselves to depend upon God's strength which makes us incredibly strong.

Fifth, God always makes good out of bad. This doesn't change bad into good but He takes that which is bad and makes something good come out of it. I have often married two people who came out of terrible divorces. Their ex-spouses were destroying them. They divorced and met each other. God hates divorce. He calls it bad but He also takes those who have come through it and makes something good. This new marriage becomes the good for this couple. They could never have had this good without the bad divorce.

I don't think any of these points are going to make you start laughing. They should, however, help you rejoice. Rejoicing is an action that does not require good times. It is a conscious decision. You rejoice in the Lord because of who He is not because you feel like it. You rejoice that this bad time is going to end, not because it is over.

You rejoice not because you know what the future holds but because you know Who holds the future.

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